Chinese statuette of a rabbit


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ITEMStatuette of a rabbit
CULTUREChinese, Han Dynasty
PERIOD206 B.C – 220 A.D
DIMENSIONS143 mm x 134 mm x 310 mm
CONDITIONGood condition. Include Thermoluminescence test by QED Laboratoire (Reference QED2205/EC-0146)
PROVENANCEEx Hong Kong art dealer, acquired on the art market

The first pottery to survive in appreciable quantities belongs to the Han dynasty; most of it has been excavated from graves. Perhaps the commonest form is the hu, a baluster-shaped vase copied from bronze vessels of the same name and sometimes decorated with relief ornament in friezes taken directly from a bronze original. The hill jar, which has a cover molded to represent the Daoist “Isles of the Blest,” is another fairly frequent form, and many models of servants, domestic animals, buildings, wellheads, dovecotes, and the like also have been discovered in graves.

Han glazed wares are chiefly of two types. Northern China saw the invention, presumably for funerary purposes only, of a low-fired lead glaze, tinted bottle-green with copper oxide, that degenerates through burial to an attractive silvery iridescence. High-fired stoneware with a thin brownish to olive glaze was still being made in Henan, but the main centre of production was already shifting to the Zhejiang region, formerly known as Yue. Yue ware kilns of the Eastern Han, located at Deqing in northern Zhejiang, produced a hard stoneware, often imitating the shapes of bronze vessels and decorated with impressed, bronzelike designs under a thin olive glaze. Other important provincial centres for pottery production in the Han dynasty were Changsha (in Hunan province) and Chengdu and Chongqing (in Sichuan province).

Yue yao (“Yue ware”) was first made at Yuezhou (present Yuyao), Zhejiang province, during the Han dynasty, although all surviving specimens are later, most belonging to the Six Dynasties (220–589 CE). They have a stoneware body and an olive or brownish green glaze and belong to the family of celadons, a term that looms large in any discussion of early Chinese wares. It is applied to glazes ranging from the olive of Yue to the deep green of later varieties. These colours were the result of a wash of slip containing a high proportion of iron that was put over the body before glazing. The iron interacted with the glaze during firing and coloured it.

It is likely that the original purpose of the figure was that of a mingqi, terracotta figures designed to be included in a burial in order to accompany the deceased in the afterlife for protection, service and companionship.

They included daily utensils, musical instruments, weapons, armor, and intimate objects such as the deceased’s cap, can and bamboo mat. Mingqi also could include figurines, spiritual representations rather than real people, of soldiers, servants, musicians, polo riders, houses, and horses. Extensive use of mingqi during certain periods may either have been an attempt to preserve the image of ritual propriety by cutting costs, or it may have a new idea separating the realm of the dead from that of the living.

Though these were particularly popular during the Tang dynasty (618-906 AD), mingqi from a broad range of historical periods have been found, with this piece acting as a particularly early example of the practice.

第一批存世的陶器是汉代的,大部分是在墓葬中出土的。最常见的形式可能是胡瓶,它是仿制自同名青铜器的栏杆形花瓶,有时直接从青铜器上取下浮雕装饰。山地罐是另一種常見的形式,它的蓋子是道教的 “福島”,而且在墓葬中也發現了許多僕人、家畜、建築、井口、鴿籠等模型。汉代的釉器主要有两种类型。中国北方发明了一种低烧的铅釉,大概只用于丧葬用途,用氧化铜染成瓶绿色,在墓葬中会变色,呈现出迷人的银色虹彩。河南仍在製造棕褐色至橄欖色薄釉的高溫炻器,但主要的生產中心已經轉移到浙江地區,即以前的越國。位于浙江北部德清的东汉越窑生产的硬石器,往往模仿青铜器的形状,并在薄薄的橄榄釉下饰以印纹、青花图案。汉代其他重要的省级制陶中心是长沙(在湖南)和成都、重庆(在四川)。越窑最早是汉代浙江越州(今余姚)制造的,但现存的标本都是晚期的,大部分属于六朝时期(公元220-589年)。它們的胎體是石器,釉色是橄欖色或棕綠色,屬於青瓷家族,是討論中國早期器物的重要名詞。它适用于从越国的橄榄色到后来的深绿色的釉料。这些颜色是在上釉前在器身上涂抹含有高比例铁的滑液的结果。在烧制过程中,铁与釉料相互作用,使其着色。